Tried And True

By Bob Vavrek, senior agronomist, North Central Region
April 19, 2011

Pink snow mold and Microdochium patch are caused by the same pathogen at different times of the season.  Pink snow mold is relatively easy to diagnose just after the snow melts, but Microdochium patch can occur anytime later in the season when conditions are favorable for disease activity and often can be mistaken for dollar spot. 

There’s not much to like about the extended period of exceptionally cool, wet weather this spring unless you are the fungus that causes Microdochium patch (pink snow mold).  No doubt, the thunder that accompanied heavy rain and sleet in Milwaukee must be music to the ears of this and other pathogens that cause a variety of cool temperature turf diseases.

Spring green-up at golf courses across the Region is nearly a month behind the early start to the season last year.  No doubt, it is difficult to think about firing up the sprayer when only a handful of rounds have been played and a considerable amount of turf on the course is still semi-dormant. 

The fact that it may be approaching six months since the greens have been treated with any fungicide should provide turf managers ample encouragement to replace nozzles, calibrate the sprayer, and begin a thorough scouting program for disease activity.   Keep in mind that turf treated with fungicides, particularly contact materials, just prior to snowfall last year may have already been exposed to sunlight for six to eight weeks by now, so there is no reason to expect any residual protection.

Yet, significant springtime Microdochium activity still comes as a surprise to some --- it shouldn’t, but it does.   Maybe the expensive tank mix of multiple fungicides at high rates made last fall lulls us to sleep with the unreasonable expectation that the protection should certainly last until we are good and ready to spray the next season.   Carry-over effect was likely when high rates of heavy-metal-based fungicides, such as PMAS, were used in days gone by, but that is not the case with current fungicide options.  Highly effective short-residual fungicides have completely replaced the old mercury and arsenic materials, and keeping on our toes with respect to scouting for diseases is a very small price to pay for making the environment a high priority on golf courses.

Controlling Microdochium patch during spring is not overly difficult or expensive once positive identification is made.  For example, a standard application of iprodione has, and continues to be, a tried and true treatment for this disease and has often been the first fungicide used on greens by experienced superintendents during spring at many courses across the north-central tier of states.   Never overlook this disease with the mindset that warm, sunny weather is sure to arrive soon, because an active infection can eat turf right down to the bone within a few days when the weather conditions are just right. 

Golf is trying hard to rebound in a sluggish economy.  The modest expense of treating greens for disease during spring can be a good investment when many nearby courses are competing for a fixed or dwindling number of potential members and green fees.  Remember, word gets around quickly with respect to a course with bad greens during the spring, and golfers always tend to exaggerate the amount of injury to a putting surface.  No one ever drives an extra five or ten miles to play a golf course because the fairway striping is unique or the tee markers are always set correctly, especially when gasoline begins to eclipse the $4/gallon mark.  It’s all about the greens, and a bad first impression of your course can last all season.

Bottom line...underestimate the potential for Microdochium disease to cause significant injury to slowly growing greens during cool, wet springtime weather and it will bite you on the grass

Source:  Bob Vavrek, rvavrek@usga.org or 262-797-8743 

 

 

Partner Links
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
AmEx image
Chevron
   

The USGA and Chevron have committed to using the game of golf to encourage students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. This commitment has led to the creation of extensive golf-focused STEM teaching tools, and has resulted in charitable contributions to support golf-related programs through Eagles for Education™

At U.S. Open Championships the Chevron STEM ZONE™ is an interactive experience highlighting the science and math behind the game of golf through a variety of hands-on exhibits and experiments.

The partnership has also produced educational materials such as the Science of Golf video series and a nationally-distributed newspaper insert which are provided to teachers as tools to enhance existing curriculum in schools. These lessons teach the science behind the USGA’s equipment testing, handicapping, and agronomy efforts.

For more interactive experiences featuring golf-focused STEM lessons, visit the partnership homepage.

Chevron image
Rolex
   

Rolex has been a longtime supporter of the USGA and salutes the sportsmanship and great traditions unique to the game. This support includes the Rules of Golf where Rolex has partnered with the USGA to ensure golfers understand and appreciate the game.

As the official timekeeper of the USGA and its championships, they also provide clocks throughout host sites for spectator convenience.

For more information on Rolex and their celebration of the game, visit the Rolex and Golf homepage.



Rolex image
IBM
   

IBM has partnered with the USGA to bring the same technology, expertise, and innovation it provides to businesses all over the world to the USGA and golf's national championship.

IBM provides the information technology to develop and host the U.S. Open’s official website, www.usopen.com, as well as the mobile apps and scoring systems for the three U.S. Open championships. These real-time technology solutions provide an enhanced experience for fans following the championship onsite and online.

For more information on IBM and the technology that powers the U.S. Open and businesses worldwide, visit http://www.usopen.com/IBM

AmEx image
Lexus
   

Lexus is committed to partnering with the USGA to deliver a best-in-class experience for the world’s best golfers by providing a fleet of courtesy luxury vehicles for all USGA Championships.

At each U.S. Open, Women’s Open and Senior Open, Lexus provides spectators with access to unique experiences ranging from the opportunity to have a picture taken with both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open trophies to autograph signings with legendary Lexus Golf Ambassadors in the Lexus Performance Drive Pavilion.

For more information on Lexus, visit http://www.lexus.com/

AmEx image
American Express
   

Together, American Express and the USGA have been providing world-class service to golf fans since 2006. By creating interactive U.S. Open experiences both onsite and online, American Express enhances the USGA’s effort to make the game more accessible and enjoyable for fans.

For more information on American Express visit www.americanexpress.com/entertainment


AmEx image